How to create a comic

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KAPOW! A comic is an entertaining way to capture a story in both words and pictures.

Common forms of comics include comic books, newspaper cartoons, graphic novels and comic strips.

In this article you will find out:

  • How to plan a comic
  • How to layout a comic
  • Different comic features, such as panels and captions

This resource is suitable for creative writing for P2, P3, P4, P5, P6 and P7 (First and Second Level Curriculum for Excellence).

Watch this clip then have a go at making your own comic strip!

How to plan and lay out your comic.

How to create a comic


Before you create your comic, you have to plan it out first.

  • Think about your story and how you will tell it in pictures.
  • Don’t worry if your plan is messy and rough at this stage. It’s more important to get your ideas down and see how they fit together.
  • Each piece of action in your comic needs to be drawn inside a . This is surrounded by a .
  • Remember to make your comic strip look exciting and interesting by varying your images and adding for sound effects.

Comic features

Panel and gutter

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  • Panels – Comic strip panels are usually read from left to right, but not always. The shape and size of the panels and where you place them on the page is important as it creates the flow of a page. Readers will follow the flow to put the pieces of the story together.
  • Captions – Use captions to tell the reader when and where events in your story are happening. Think of it as your voice that gives background information.
  • Speech bubbles – Put the words you want the character to say inside speech bubbles. Different types of outlines around the speech bubbles can show different emotions. For example, a jagged speech bubble might show the character is angry.
  • Thought bubbles – You can show what you character is thinking inside thought bubbles.
  • Sound effects – Sound effects can be added using listenonomatopoeia. Use words like “pow” or “boom”. They sound like what they are describing.
  • Motion lines – You can use visual elements like motion lines to show movement.

Enjoy creating your own comic.

Different shot types

Just like a film or TV show, your comic can have lots of different shot types: a long shot, a mid shot, a close up, extreme close up, bird’s eye view or a worm’s eye view.

Long shot

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  • listencontain – To hold or keep something within something else. A comic panel contains a scene or moment in your story. For example: 'Be careful. Don’t drop the box,” she said because it contained lots of glasses.'
  • listenconvey – To show or give an idea or information. For example: 'When he got his new trainers, he didn’t say anything but his face conveyed his happiness.'
  • listenvisual – Something we see. This could be a picture, film or illustration. For example: 'The photographs of their holiday is a useful visual reminder of the places they visited.'
  • listenelement – A piece of something. For example: 'They had only one more clue to find and then all the elements could be put together.'
  • listenonomatopoeia – A word that sounds like what it is describing. For example: 'Cock-a-doodle-do woke him, then he heard the loud tick-tock from the clock before he jumped out of bed at the crashing sound of plates falling.' The words in this sentence imitate the sound they make and using onomatopoeia makes writing more interesting and colourful.

Test your knowledge

Try this true or false quiz about creating a comic.

Draw your own comic

  • Draw your panels first. The can be a variety of sizes.
  • Draw your character and set them off on an adventure. If you need help creating a character, use this BBC Bitesize to help you: How to create a character
  • Use all different types of shots.
  • Include the words they would speak and think in bubbles. Remember to include for sound effects. KAPOW!